Sci-fi fans who happen to have a spare AUD$150,000 lying around will be very happy to know that as early as next year, they could be flying away in their very own jetpack.
New Zealand-based tech company, Martin Aircraft, has been testing its jetpack model since 2011, and has announced that it will be going on the market to select buyers in the second half of 2016.
Known as the Martin Jetpack, the device runs using normal petrol and is powered by two huge fans that can blast a pilot weighing up to 120 kg into the air at speeds of 74 km/h. The jetpack can currently fly for around 30 minutes at a time. The frame is made from ultra-tough carbon fibre and aluminium, and there's an inbuilt ballistic parachute in case anything goes wrong.
While Martin Aircraft has announced that pilots will be able to reach heights of 1,000 metres in the device, test flights have shown that it can get up to an incredible 1,500 metres, as you can see below:
What's really cool about the jetpacks (aside from the fact that they're jetpacks) is that they can take off and land vertically and operate in confined spaces, such as between buildings, close to the ground, and in forests. And the team expects them to be as disruptive to the industry as the helicopter was when it came on the market.
Although the jetpack comes with a hefty price tag, the target market isn't bored millionaries, it's emergency workers who will use the technology to get to emergency situations as quickly and easily as possible. “I think the first responders will see that as a massive improvement to their capability,” Peter Coker, chief executive of Martin Aircraft, told Reuters. “Naturally for the ambulance service, getting to a point of importance of rescuing people in the shortest possible time [is crucial].”
The jetpack will go on sale to these workers in the second half of next year, and Martin Aircraft hopes to release a personal version of the device to the rest of us the year after that, so we can all fulfill our James Bond fantasies. Maybe by then Lexus will have released its recently teased hoverboard, and Elon Musk's hyperloop will be up and running.
I guess we'd better start saving.